Plants at Christmas are popular presents and can really bring colour and life to a room. Here are David Hall's guidelines on how to look after them during the festive season and beyond.
If they are to remain in tip top condition, it is your task to replicate this perfect environment, something which we're sure you will be able to do! These plants can brighten up your house for the Christmas season and beyond if looked after carfeully.
By far the most popular Christmas plant, their dark green foliage offsets attractive crimson bracts. If kept for the following year, colour should return if you alternate between 12 hours of natural light and darkness during November but will probably never be as good as in the first year.
• Place in a warm position that is well lit (Ponsettias can tolerate direct winter sunlight)
• Keep the soil moist but don't waterlog
• Position away from from radiators and draughts
• Use a slow release fertiliser or add a balanced fertilizer every fortnight
• Guard against whitefly, spray if present
Pink flowers emerge from at leaf ends in the weeks before Christmas
• Keep in a moist atmosphere
• Water sparingly but do not allow to dry out
• A wide range of temperature and light levels can be tolerated
• Do not move until positioning in a light place after flowering
A bushy plant with funnel-shaped flowers in shades of red, orange, pink and white.
• Prefers a cool, bright position
• Dunk into a bucket and keep the roots wet with rain (rather than tap) water
• Maintain humidity by placing pot on damp gravel and mist leaves
• Deadhead regularly
• Once flowering has ceased, move to shaded outside location.
• Keep moist and bring inside again in the autumn
Grown from a tuber with flowers that are white through to pink / purple
• Keep in a cool (13°C), bright position out of direct sunlight
• Water regularly when the compost feels dry, do not allow to stand in water
• Feed fortnightly
• Remove spent flowers
• Dry out tuber in summer and replant in autumn
A tough plant with poisonous orange / red berries
• Place in a cool but sunny positioning
• Water well regularly
• Mist foliage
• Cut back hard at the end of the season
Large multi-coloured flowers - pink, red, orange and white
• After buying bulbs, plump up the roots in lukewarm water
• Choose a pot that is only just larger than the bulb
• Carefully place the bulb in compost up to its neck, don't damage the roots
• Place in warm position (20C)
• Water sparingly at first, increasing the amount as the bud appears
• Feed fortnightly
• After flowering, cut out old blooms
• Store bulb in cool dry soil and replant in October
A fragrant and multi-coloured favourite
• After flowering leave the leaves intact until they die off
• Move to a sunny position
• Keep moist and feed with seaweed based fertilizer fortnightly
• After the leaves have withered, lift bulbs keep in a cool, dark, dry place for about eight weeks
• Re-plant and they will flower again in the spring
For more detailed information on buying and caring for Christmas bulbs refer to our Christmas Flowering Bulb Guide.